‘Peter Pan’ flies to the aid of rescue mission
Members of the Christian theater group Players of the Stage have been rehearsing since August to present their version of “Peter Pan.” The story of the forever-young boy will be performed this weekend at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Lower Macungie Township.
The play tells the story of Peter Pan, a free spirit who refuses to grow up, and Wendy Darling from London.
Peter Pan flies Wendy to Neverland to be the mother of his gang, the Lost Boys.
Their magical flight tells of the many adventures Peter Pan has with the mermaids, fairies, Indians and pirates who inhibit the island.
The play is based on the 1911 novel “Peter and Wendy” written by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie.
Silos Taylor plays Peter Pan in Cast 1. Austin Beaumont portrays Peter Pan in Cast 2.
Taylor said his character is brave, courageous and a little cocky and thinks he is better than anyone.
“What I like about playing my character is the action,” Taylor said.
He said the play is an amazing opportunity for him to express his art.
Beaumont said his character is a silly, energetic boy who doesn’t want to grow up.
“Peter Pan has adventures and loves being in charge,” Beaumont said. “I enjoy not taking commands from others, and I love fighting Captain Hook (played by John McClure).
“This play is so much fun to be a part of,” he said. “My friends, the excitement and being a main role are probably my favorite things about this play.
“Players of the Stage has brought so much joy to my life, and being a part of this organization is fantastic,” Beaumont said.
Annalise Christie portrays Wendy in Cast 1. Elizabeth Hutchinson plays Wendy in Cast 2.
Christie said her character wants to be seen as grown up, but meeting Peter Pan, the boy who doesn’t want to grow up, is a challenge for her character.
“I like playing Wendy because she has so many different emotions that are a lot of fun to show on stage,” she said.
“I love being in ‘Peter Pan’ because it’s such a fun story, and we have a lot of fun performing it,” Christie said.
Hutchinson said her character wants to become a grown up because she thinks people will respect her more.
“But as she becomes the mother (of the lost boys) she always wanted to be, she realizes it is not as easy as she thought it was and that it is not a good idea to rush life,” Hutchinson said.
“I love playing Wendy because she changes so much over the course of the play,” she said.
“I like being in this play because I get to meet so many people, act and help homeless men,” Hutchinson said.
Carter Wiren plays Captain Hook in Cast 1. John McClure portrays Captain Hook in Cast 2.
Wiren said Hook is the captain of Neverland’s pirates and is seeking revenge on Peter Pan, the boy who cut off his hand and fed it to a crocodile.
“Hook isn’t your typical pirate,” Wiren said. “He keeps himself clean and has his own form of politeness. No other pirate has any of those features.
“It has been great fun trying to capture his unique characterization,” he said. “I also enjoy the costume.”
Wiren said it has been a blessing being a part of this show.
“It is so much fun to be back on stage, and there are so many great people to talk to and interact with,” he said. “We all love each other and what we do, and that is probably what I like most about this place.”
McClure said his character is trying to do the right thing by saving the children from the ignorance of Peter Pan, but at the same time, he’s trying to fulfill his own agenda.
“I really like how I added more depth to the character of Captain Hook,” McClure said. “I like how you can view this play from different perspectives.”
This play is directed by Sharon Gerdes with help from assistant director Marian Barshinger and choreographer Lindsay Swavely.
Gerdes commented on why they chose “Peter Pan.”
“I love the haunting beauty of the story about the boy who wouldn’t grow up,” she said. “We tend to think of ‘Peter Pan’ as a story full of adventure.
“Sometime, we miss the fact that it is also full of pain.”
She said Peter’s choice to stay a boy forever has consequences that he desperately tries to ignore.
“I’ve been wanting to do ‘Peter Pan’ for a long time,” Gerdes said. “With the rise of the ‘adulating’ crisis of many in my generation and the fact we had lots of boys’ it seemed the right time to do ‘Peter Pan.’
“Our production of ‘Peter Pan’ is an adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s book ‘Peter and Wendy,’ which he wrote after the success of the original ‘Peter Pan’ play,” Gerdes said. “I adapted the script for the show.”
She said the Players of the Stage show is about the pain that comes from the selfish choice to give into the fear of rejection, responsibility and relationship and the attempt to soothe the pain of isolation through entertainment.
Gerdes comments on why they chose to aid the Allentown Rescue Mission.
“We always do our December show for the Allentown Rescue Mission,” Gerdes said. “We love working with them and supporting their great work with the homeless.
“A connection usually surfaces,” she said. “In the case of ‘Peter Pan,’ I think this play shows why the work of the Allentown Rescue Mission is so important. We need people who can help men who have lost their way find themselves again.”
The Allentown Rescue Mission provides emergency shelter, food and rehabilitation services to homeless men in crisis.
The theater group will perform “Peter Pan” 7 p.m. Dec. 8-10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Lower Macungie Township.
Tickets are free, but reservations are needed. In lieu of a ticket price, an offering will be taken for the Allentown Rescue Mission.
For tickets, call 610-310-7604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit playersofthestage.org.